Mood Boosters: Six Recipes to Elevate Your Spirits

Lentil and sweet potato soup

In the quest for happiness and well-being, the role of diet is often overlooked. Yet, food has a profound impact on our overall well-being, including our mental health and mood.1 Certain nutrients and compounds found in various foods can influence the production and regulation of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, which play crucial roles in regulating our emotions and mood.2 

Here are some easy recipes that incorporate mood-boosting foods: These recipes are easy to prepare and incorporate various mood-boosting ingredients like omega-3s, fermented foods, antioxidants, and vitamins essential for mental well-being.

1. Avocado Toast with Smoked Salmon

avo toast with salmon

Top whole-grain toast with mashed avocado, smoked salmon (rich in omega-3s), and a sprinkle of everything bagel seasoning. The healthy fats and protein make this a satisfying and mood-elevating breakfast or snack.


  • 2 slices whole-grain bread

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 4 oz smoked salmon

  • 1 tsp everything bagel seasoning (or sesame seeds)


  1. Toast the bread slices until golden brown.

  2. In a small bowl, mash the avocado with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

  3. Spread the mashed avocado evenly over the toasted bread slices.

  4. Top with smoked salmon and sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning or sesame seeds.

  5. Serve immediately.

2. Greek Yogurt Parfait

Greek Yogurt parfait

Layer Greek yogurt (a fermented food) with fresh berries like blueberries or raspberries (antioxidants), and top with a drizzle of honey and sliced almonds or walnuts (omega-3s).1,2,3


  • 1 cup Greek yogurt

  • 1 cup fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, or a mix)

  • 2 tbsp honey

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds or walnuts


  1. In a glass or jar, layer half of the Greek yogurt, followed by half of the berries.

  2. Repeat the layers with the remaining yogurt and berries.

  3. Drizzle honey over the top and sprinkle with sliced almonds or walnuts.

  4. Serve chilled.

3. Spinach and Egg Scramble

Spinach and Egg Scramble

Sauté spinach (folate) with garlic and scramble in eggs (vitamin D).
Serve with whole-grain toast for a nutrient-dense breakfast that may improve mood3.


  • 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 tbsp milk or water

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 slices whole-grain toast


  1. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

  2. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant.

  3. Add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

  4. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk (or water), salt, and pepper.

  5. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet with the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are scrambled to your desired consistency.

  6. Serve the scrambled eggs with whole-grain toast on the side.

4. Banana Smoothie

Banana smoothie

Blend a banana (vitamin B6, fiber) with almond milk or Greek yogurt, a handful of oats (serotonin-boosting), a spoonful of nut butter, and cinnamon for a portable, mood-lifting smoothie.


  • 1 ripe banana

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

  • 1 tbsp nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew)

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender.

  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.

  3. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately.

5. Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

lentil sweet potato soup

Simmer lentils with diced sweet potatoes (vitamin B6, fiber), vegetable or chicken broth, and spices like cumin and coriander. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt for a comforting, gut-friendly meal.


  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp coriander

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (for serving)


  1. In a large pot, combine the lentils, diced sweet potato, broth, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper.

  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender.

  3. Adjust seasoning if needed.

  4. Serve the soup hot, topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

6. Dark Chocolate Bark

Dark chocolate bark

Melt dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) and spread it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit before letting it set for a nutrient-dense, mood-boosting snack.


  • 8 oz dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), chopped

  • 1/4 cup mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans)

  • 2 tbsp pumpkin or sunflower seeds

  • 2 tbsp dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, or chopped apricots)


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl, melt the dark chocolate, stirring frequently until smooth.

  3. Pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it into a thin, even layer using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

  4. Sprinkle the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit evenly over the melted chocolate.

  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until the chocolate is completely set.

  6. Break or cut the bark into pieces and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Incorporating Mood-Boosting Foods into Your Diet

While individual foods can contribute to a better mood, the overall dietary pattern is equally important.1 A balanced, colorful diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats supports mental well-being.

Here are some tips for incorporating mood-boosting foods into your daily meals:

  • Start Your Day Right:
    Kick off with a breakfast that includes ingredients like oats, eggs, or yogurt to stabilize your energy and mood from the morning.

  • Personalize Your Diet:
    Your microbiome is unique, and to create balance and optimal full-body health, a strategic and personalized approach to nutrition and lifestyle is required. Starting with a health test to determine your baseline and precision nutrition plans is a wise first step.

  • Smart Snacking:
    To keep your mood steady throughout the day, choose snacks that combine proteins, healthy fats, and fibers, such as nuts or dark chocolate.

  • Colorful Plates:
    Aim for meals that include a variety of colors from fruits and vegetables, ensuring a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants.

  • Stay Hydrated:
    Remember hydration. Water is essential for optimal brain function and mood regulation. Herbal teas and infused waters are also great options.

The connection between food and mood is undeniable. By incorporating mood-boosting foods into your diet, you can enjoy delicious meals while nurturing your mental health.

Remember, food is just one piece of the puzzle. A holistic approach that includes regular movement, sufficient sleep, healthy doses of sunlight, and stress management techniques is crucial for overall well-being.3 So, next time you're feeling down, reach for one of these mood-boosting foods and recipes and give your mood a delicious lift.


1. Arab A, Mehrabani S, Moradi S, Amani R. (2019). Psychiatry Res. 2019;271:428-437. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2018.12.014

2. Yang B, Wei J, Ju P, et al. (2019). General Psychiatry 2019;32:e100056. doi: 10.1136/gpsych-2019-100056

3. Pemberton R, Fuller Tyszkiewicz MD. (2016). J Affect Disord. 2016;200:103-110. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2016.04.023